Somalia: Al-Shabaab Executes 5 Accused of Spying
MOGADISHU, Somalia - The Al-Shabaab executed five men within Jilib town in Middle Jubba, over claims that they have been sharing intelligence with the US Africa Command, a team that has been working closely with the Somali National Army [SNA] and other allied troops in the country.
It's not the first time, however, that the militants are targeting people believed to be spies of the US and the government of Somalia. Jilib town is the official headquarters of the Al-Qaeda-linked group and has proven difficult got security forces to dethrone them from the base.
Sources say the incident took place on Sunday but even after the execution, the deadly group did not immediately publish evidence on the allegations leveled against the victims. Usually, the militants do not give the accused opportunity to defend themselves through lawyers.
The number of people brutally executed by the group has reached 18 since late July, with the group had killed 13 others over the same allegations. The accused are tied before the firing squad opens fire, killing them instantly without even alerting their families.
Over years, Al-Shabaab has usually had issues with the US army or those working closely with them, terming them as "enemies" of Somalia. In most situations, the group keeps surveillance of them before arresting and killing them in cold blood at times without much evidence.
To further cause fear and instability, the group has often tried to attack US outposts in Somalia, as retaliation to the efforts made by Washington to equip and train Danab Special forces, within the Somali National Army. The group attacked camp Simba in Kenya two years ago, killing three US nationals.
The execution comes in the middle of sustained Al-Shabaab attacks in Somalia, including the latest attack targeting food trucks, which left at least 22 innocent civilians dead. The group, however, insisted that it was targeting people closely working with security forces.
US Africa Command has since redeployed soldiers to Somalia, over a year after they were prematurely withdrawn by former President Donald Trump. The soldiers have been critical in degrading the militants through airstrikes and ground operations.
A report done by the US indicated that Al-Shabaab has improved its technology and has been using drones against its target in recent times. It's not clear who gives the group sophisticated weapons but there is an indication that they are using the civil war in Yemen to smuggle weapons into the country.
The Al-Shabaab militants control rural central and southern Somalia but there have been deliberate efforts to push them out of their bases with the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia [ATMIS] helping local troops to regain grounds lost to the militants.